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Mexico City Policy

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On August 16, 1984 an international conference regarding population was held in Mexico City. It was at this conference that the Reagan Administration implemented the "Mexico City Policy", also known and the Global Gag Rule. This policy stated that Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) would be prohibited from receiving United States funds if they performed, promoted, referred or counseled patients on abortion. The funds would be withheld from the NGOs even if the money used for abortion services were non-U.S. funds. This policy was in effect from 1984-1993 when president Bill Clinton came into office. On January 22, 2001 president George Bush reinstated the Mexico City Policy. There has been much debate over whether the policy is helping or hurting those abroad. Many people in the United States are not aware that the Mexico City Policy is in effect, or even what it is. It is very important that people here are aware of how the government is controlling health care and women's rights in other countries.

"It is my conviction that taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions or advocate or actively promote abortion either here or abroad," Bush stated in his memorandum to reinstate the Mexico City Policy. However, the policy does not state that funds will be withheld if the US taxpayer's money is used; it states that monies will be withheld if abortion services are offered at all, even if it is not US money. Douglas Johnson the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee states, the "government will no longer..try to legalize abortion in countries in Latin America, Africa, and Muslim countries in which people are strongly opposed to abortion and believe in the protection of unborn children." What Johnson fails to recognize is that in countries where abortion is legal women's rights are being compromised. U.S. Representative Christopher H. Smith expresses his feelings in his article "A Congressional View: The Unborn Must be Protected" (Global Issues Electronic Journal) by stating, "Abortion is child abuse." Smith also comments that when the policy was previously in effect it had no affect on the family planning money received by NGO's. It may not have affected the money received but it did affect women who were denied the option of abortion services.

On January 22, 2003 president Bill Clinton rescinded the Mexico City Policy stating that it "undermined efforts to promote safe and efficacious family planning in foreign nations." This could not be truer. It is shown that 78,000 women die a year from unsafe abortions. The policy has not shown that it reduces the number of abortions performed. Rather, it indicates that abortions are being performed in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Many women die, suffer injuries or develop disabilities. The argument for the pro-life movement is that the policy saves lives. On the contrary, by



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